Coal concerns aired at Whitefish meeting, KPAX TV, April 3, 2013

April 3, 2013

Categories: Climate change, Coal, Northern Plains Resource Council

By Laura Wilson
April 3, 2013

WHITEFISH – The debate over the controversial Otter Creek mine proposal is continuing, and some Montana groups are working to educate the public on what that could mean for the state’s climate conditions.

“We want people to just have it on their radar screen that it’s coming, and it could be happening in their communities if things go the way the coal companies want it to,” said Beth Kaeding with the Northern Plains Resource Council.

Arch Coal is looking to develop a railroad in the Tongue River Valley, as well as the Otter Creek coal mine in southeast Montana.

Presenters discussed the local and global impacts of each these proposals during a Tuesday evening meeting at the Bohemian Grange Hall in Whitefish.

Otter Creek Mine operations would bring in at least 30 more trains through Montana each day, according to the Billings-based NPRC, a statistic that.s sparked the interest of Burlington Santa Fe Railway officials.

One BNSF employee even traveled all the way from Bozeman on Tuesday to join the Flathead discussion.

“We take very seriously the issues that are being discussed tonight. Because we live and work here in Whitefish, we want to hear what people are saying so we can have a constructive conversation with the community about our presence,” commented BNSF Public Affairs Regional Director Matt Jones.

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